"I am angry that so many of the sons of the powerful and well-placed ...
managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units...Of
the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes
me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created
equal and owe equal allegiance to their country." (Colin
Powell's autobiography, My American Journey , p. 148)
Um...Colin...have you talked to your boss about
this anger? What
about guys that get those slots, and then don't even show up for
duty ? Can you tell us which one of these
guys went in GW's place? -- from www.awolbush.com
BuDDy proudly testifies to his
military service with the President-to-be.
SEE VIDEO: "I
Served With George"
The Man Who Got Bush Into Texas Air National Guard
This is an amazing
video hosted at Salon.com of
former Texas Lieutenant Governor Ben Barnes talking about how he
is ashamed of getting George W. Bush and other rich kids into the
Texas Air National Guard so they could avoid service.
This is the most damning line in the piece:
I walked to the Vietnam Memorial the other day and I looked
at the names of the people that died in Vietnam, and I became
more ashamed of myself than I have ever been, because it was
the worst thing I ever did, was help a lot of wealthy supporters
and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into
the National Guard. And I'm very sorry about that, and I'm very
ashamed, and I apologize to you as voters of Texas. [snip]
And I tell you that for the Republicans to jump
on John Kerry and say that he is not a patriot after he went
to Vietnam and was shot at and fought for our freedom and came
back here and protested against the war, he's a flip-flopper, let
me tell you: John Kerry is a 100 times better patriot than George
Bush or Dick Cheney."
There are unedited
versions of the video, as well as Quicktime. The Salon version
comes only in Windows media.
"Of course the people don't want war. But
after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the
policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along
whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament,
or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always
be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you
have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the
pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater
-- Herman Goering (noted Nazi) at the Nuremberg trials
heard John Kerry's actual post-Viet Nam Senate testimony?
it is: (Audio
clip courtesy of "Democracy Now".)
Questions about Bush's Guard service unanswered
By Dave Moniz and Jim
Drinkard, USA TODAY 8-23-04
WASHINGTON — At a time when Democratic
presidential candidate John Kerry has come under fire from a group
of retired naval officers who say he lied about his combat record in
Vietnam, questions about President Bush's 1968-73 stint in the Texas
Air National Guard remain unresolved:
• Why did Bush, described by some of his fellow officers as a talented and
enthusiastic pilot, stop flying fighter jets in the spring of 1972 and fail
to take an annual physical exam required of all pilots?
• What explains the apparent gap in the president's Guard service in 1972-73,
a period when commanders in Texas and Alabama say they never saw him report
for duty and records show no pay to Bush when he was supposed to be on duty
We are not "a nation in danger"
editorial from an unexpected source...
America is vulnerable to the tragedy and trauma of a terrorists attacks. There
is a much more remote danger of an act of terror with a nuclear device that could
eclipse 9/11. But there is no danger of the equivalent of war on our soil, of
mass loss of life, of a crippled economy, disrupted civilian life and destabilized
Israel is in danger. Palestinians are in danger. Iraq is in danger. Sudan is
in danger. Colombia is in danger. America is not in danger.
And America is not at war.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN (original source unknown)
Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full
of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water
He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications
are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work
All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan
because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical
insurance, now Joe gets it too because his employer needs to offer competitive
benefits to hire the best people.
Joe prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe's bacon
is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing
Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly
labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some
liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how
much it contained.
Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is
clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries
from polluting our air.
Joe drives to work in one of the safest cars in the world because some liberal
fought to raise safety standards and emission controls.
Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with good pay, medical benefits,
retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members
fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards
because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe
is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he'll get a worker compensation or
unemployment check because some Liberal didn't think he should lose his home
because of his temporary misfortune.
Over his lunch hour, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some
bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC up to $100,000 because
some liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from greedy, unscrupulous bankers
like the ones who ruined the banking system before the depression.
Joe needs to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market
federal student loan because some liberal decided that Joe and the government
would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.
Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm
home in the country. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation
to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers
didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electric until some
big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded
rural electrification. (Those rural Republican's might still be sitting in
He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security
and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of
himself so Joe wouldn't have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in
his car for the ride home.
He turns on a radio talk show, the host keeps saying that liberals are bad
and conservatives are good. (He doesn't tell Joe that his beloved Republicans
have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his
Joe agrees, "We don't need those big government liberals
ruining our lives; after all, I'm a self made man who believes everyone should
take care of themselves, just like I have".
New Yorker July 12, 2004,
"The Price of Valor:
train our soldiers to kill for us. Afterward, they're on their own.
(Excerpt): A compact, wiry man of fifty-seven, Knox joined
the Army in 1966, after seeing a photo essay on the depredations
of the Vietcong in Life . He felt that it was his duty to defend
Southeast Asia from Communism. Knox's infantry suffered huge casualties,
but what bothers him most, more than three decades later, is not
the fear, the carnage he witnessed, or the loss of friends but the
faces of the people he killed while serving as a helicopter door
gunner. “If they told me to kill a whole village, that's what I'd
do,” he said. “I still see images—a woman and her children rolling
in the dust.” When I asked Knox how often such images arise, he thought
for a moment and said, “Every ten minutes.” Later, he added, “Really,
it's more like I'm always looking at a double image. I see you sitting
there in that chair, and I'm also watching this funeral party I gunned.
In a few minutes, it will be a sampan I gunned on a river, with a
woman and her babies falling out of it into the water and kicking
around as I shoot them.”
After serving two tours, he was honorably discharged in 1969. Knox
got married, had children, and held himself together while earning
a law degree and pursuing a series of short-lived careers. But in
1995 one of his children died suddenly from a congenital asthma condition,
and his mental health deteriorated. When he told psychologists at
the V.A. hospital that the killing he had done was torturing him,
they changed the subject. “Their basic response was ‘Soldier, you
did your duty,'” Knox said. He finally found a support group through
a V.A.-affiliated local facility in suburban San Francisco, where
he lives, and he has been meeting with the group's members ever since.
In addition, he recently found a sympathetic V.A. psychiatrist, and
is now getting disability payments from the V.A.; he has also returned
to Vietnam to help build schools with the Veterans Vietnam Restoration
Project. On the day we were talking, the Times ran a page-one story
on Army snipers in Baghdad. A sniper who had killed seven men in
a day was quoted as saying that he felt no remorse. “He's got the
thousand-yard stare,” Knox said, tapping the accompanying photograph
with his index finger. “Go back and find him in fifteen years.”
Complete story at: http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040712fa_fact
"To announce that there must be no criticism of
the President, or that we are to stand by the President right
or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable
to the American public."
Theodore Roosevelt (stated DURING First World War)
The Rambo Coalition
By PAUL KRUGMAN
New York Times August 24, 2004
Almost a year
ago, on the second anniversary of 9/11, I predicted "an ugly, bitter
campaign - probably the nastiest of modern American history." The
reasons I gave then still apply. President Bush has no positive achievements
to run on. Yet his inner circle cannot afford to see him lose: if
he does, the shroud of secrecy will be lifted, and the public will
learn the truth about cooked intelligence, profiteering, politicization
of homeland security and more.
But recent attacks on John Kerry have surpassed even my expectations.
There's no mystery why. Mr. Kerry isn't just a Democrat who might
win: his life story challenges Mr. Bush's attempts to confuse tough-guy
poses with heroism, and bombast with patriotism.
One of the wonders of recent American politics has been the ability
of Mr. Bush and his supporters to wrap their partisanship in the
flag. Through innuendo and direct attacks by surrogates, men who
assiduously avoided service in Vietnam, like Dick Cheney (five deferments),
John Ashcroft (seven deferments) and George Bush (a comfy spot in
the National Guard, and a mysterious gap in his records), have questioned
the patriotism of men who risked their lives and suffered for their
country: John McCain, Max Cleland and now John Kerry.
How have they been able to get away with it? The
answer is that we have been living in what Roger Ebert calls "an
age of Rambo patriotism." As
the carnage and moral ambiguities of Vietnam faded from memory, many
started to believe in the comforting clichés of action movies,
in which the tough-talking hero is always virtuous and the hand-wringing
types who see complexities and urge the hero to think before acting
are always wrong, if not villains.
MORE at: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/24/opinion/24krugman.html?hp]
LESSONS ON WAR FROM THE ANCIENT GREEKS
From NPR "Morning Edition" 8-25-04 http://www.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=3&prgDate=25-Aug-2004
Commentator Thomas Palaima
says the ancient Greeks lived intimately with the brutality
of war, unlike present times, when many American civilians
are shielded from the effects of the war in Iraq.
Conservative Columnist Says:
Vote For A Man,
Not A Puppet.
Charley Reese, Orlando Sentinel
Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's
re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war - Dick
Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal
of neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers.
I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely
a frontman, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his
administration. Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of
the world of any president in my memory. It's no wonder the president
avoids press conferences like the plague. Take away his cue cards
and he can barely talk. Americans should be embarrassed that an Arab
king (Abdullah of Jordan) spoke more fluently and articulately in
English than our own president at their joint press conference recently.
John Kerry is at least an educated man, well-read, who knows how
to think and who knows that the world is a great deal more complex
than Bush's comic-book world of American heroes and foreign evildoers.
It's unfortunate that in our poorly educated country, Kerry's very
intelligence and refusal to adopt simplistic slogans might doom his
presidential election efforts.
W.'s Second Term: If You Think
the First is Bad...
Published in the April, 2004 issue of the American Prospect by
Robert B. Reich
Musings about a second Bush term typically assume another four years of the same
right-wing policies we've had to date. But it'd likely be far worse. So far,
the Bush administration has had to govern with the expectation of facing American
voters again in 2004. But suppose George W. Bush wins a second term. The constraint
of a re-election contest will be gone. Knowing that voters can no longer turn
them out, and that this will be their last shot at remaking America, the radical
conservatives will be unleashed.
A friend who specializes in foreign policy and hobnobs with subcabinet officials
in the Defense and State departments told me that the only thing that's stopped
the Bushies from storming into Iran and North Korea is the upcoming election.
If Bush is re-elected, "[Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld are out of the box," he
said. "They'll take Bush's re-election as a mandate to wage the 'war on terror'
everywhere and anywhere."
The second term's defense team will be even harder line than the current one.
Colin Powell will go. Condoleezza Rice will take over at the State Department.
Rumsfeld will consolidate power as the president's national-security adviser.
Paul Wolfowitz will run the Defense Department.
Domestic policy will swing further right. A re-election would strengthen the
White House's hand on issues that even many congressional Republicans have a
hard time accepting, such as the assault on civil liberties. Bush will seek to
push "Patriot II" through Congress, giving the Justice Department and the FBI
powers to inspect mail, eavesdrop on phone conversations and e-mail, and examine
personal medical records, insurance claims, and bank accounts. MORE: http://www.robertreich.org/reich/20040401.asp
Just published: "Progressive Solutions for Challenging
Times", including one from your humble host, in
the September '04 issue of the Eldorado
As a Web posting to this article says: Funniest,
truest description of recent history to date. http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/979/
Culture > August 26, 2004
We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore
How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the
party of Newt Gingrich's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president,
a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured
body parts trying to walk?
Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican
Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen
in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were
devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity
that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished
the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters,
the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner
element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American
hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican.
He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate
Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam,
and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American
arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned—and there
was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans
were giants compared to today's. Richard Nixon was the last Republican
leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor.
In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated
southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the
idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the
Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government,
a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their
sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan
who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass
and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon moderate vanished
like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men
who rose to power on pure punk politics. “Bipartisanship is another
term of date rape,” says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the
GOP. “I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce
it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it
in the bathtub.” The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party
of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based
economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience,
freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM
radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes,
sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians,
people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell,
New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's
evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man
suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions,
whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to
walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we're
deaf, dumb and dangerous.
Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest!
Wild swine crowd round the public trough! Outrageous gerrymandering!
Pocket lining on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in committee
rooms and write legislation to alleviate the suffering of billionaires!
Hypocrisies shine like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain,
where art thou at this hour? Arise and behold the Gilded Age reincarnated
gaudier than ever, upholding great wealth as the sure sign of Divine
Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform
of tragedy—the single greatest failure of national defense in our
history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put
this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White
House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock
up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed,
hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government
impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that
was undertaken for the president's personal satisfaction but sold
to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war
whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth
taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is
The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is
the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity
has survived this. The election of 2004 will say something about
what happens to ours. The omens are not good.
Our beloved land has been fogged with fear—fear, the greatest political
strategy ever. An ominous silence, distant sirens, a drumbeat of
whispered warnings and alarms to keep the public uneasy and silence
the opposition. And in a time of vague fear, you can appoint bullet-brained
judges, strip the bark off the Constitution, eviscerate federal regulatory
agencies, bring public education to a standstill, stupefy the press,
lavish gorgeous tax breaks on the rich.
There is a stink drifting through this election year. It isn't the
Florida recount or the Supreme Court decision. No, it's 9/11 that
we keep coming back to. It wasn't the “end of innocence,” or a turning
point in our history, or a cosmic occurrence, it was an event, a
lapse of security. And patriotism shouldn't prevent people from asking
hard questions of the man who was purportedly in charge of national
security at the time.
Whenever I think of those New Yorkers hurrying along Park Place
or getting off the No.1 Broadway local, hustling toward their office
on the 90th floor, the morning paper under their arms, I think of
that non-reader George W. Bush and how he hopes to exploit those
people with a little economic uptick, maybe the capture of Osama,
cruise to victory in November and proceed to get some serious nation-changing
done in his second term.
This year, as in the past, Republicans will portray us Democrats
as embittered academics, desiccated Unitarians, whacked-out hippies
and communards, people who talk to telephone poles, the party of
the Deadheads. They will wave enormous flags and wow over and over
the footage of firemen in the wreckage of the World Trade Center
and bodies being carried out and they will lie about their economic
policies with astonishing enthusiasm.
The Union is what needs defending this year. Government of Enron
and by Halliburton and for the Southern Baptists is not the same
as what Lincoln spoke of. This gang of Pithecanthropus Republicanii has
humbugged us to death on terrorism and tax cuts for the comfy and
school prayer and flag burning and claimed the right to know what
books we read and to dump their sewage upstream from the town and
clear-cut the forests and gut the IRS and mark up the constitution
on behalf of intolerance and promote the corporate takeover of the
public airwaves and to hell with anybody who opposes them.
This is a great country, and it wasn't made so by angry
people. We have a sacred duty to bequeath it to our grandchildren
in better shape than however we found it. We have a long way to go
and we're not getting any younger.
Dante said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved
for those who in time of crisis remain neutral, so I have spoken
my piece, and thank you, dear reader. It's a beautiful world, rain
or shine, and there is more to life than winning.